Volume 35, Number 2, February 2000

Hey There, Hi There, Ho There:

Glass Week Welcome As Can Be 
by Debra Levy

 

It was a Glass Week made for the millennium. In fact, it followed the Y2K theme to a tee. Everyone was predicting problems ahead for the glass industry, although no one could say exactly what, if anything, would happen. But everyone wants to be prepared just in case.

wpe15.jpg (15804 bytes)

The beautiful Wyndham Palace Resort and Spa in Orlando was the site of Glass Week ’00 held earlier this month.

Glass Week is a five-day conclave of top manufacturers and fabricators in the glass and metal industry. Co-sponsored by the Glass Association of North America (GANA) and the Sealed Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association (SIGMA), Glass Week combines mornings of educational seminars and committee meetings, afternoons of golf and tennis with evenings of social networking events in a posh, usually tropical, setting. It is a formula that has served GANA well for 14 years, and continued to do so this year at the Wyndham Palace Resort and Spa in the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, FL. No company in the world merchandises and self-promotes as well or as shamelessly as Disney, as the approximately 450 people who attended the event January 30-February 3 saw first-hand.

 

It’s a Small World After All

Sunday began with committee meetings by SIGMA and various GANA divisions followed by an evening reception complete with Disney characters and theme. Educational sessions began in earnest on Monday with an early GANA open meeting that featured Chris Caudill, president of Moduline Windows, Chris Fuldner, president of EFCO Corporation, Robert G. Leyland, vice president of marketing at the Kawneer Company, Robert Randall, CEO of Traco Windows and Alan Verploegh, president of Wausau Window and Wall Systems. While the discussion was billed as an open exchange among aluminum window manufacturers, it could have been subtitled “the evils of vinyl.” The manufacturers discussed many of the perceived disadvantages to and threats emanating from the increasing use of vinyl windows in this country.

The panel was followed by a joint program titled “Management, Disney Style” which detailed the Disney philosophy of management and employee (they’re called cast members) management techniques. “It was an interesting session, but wouldn’t help me much,” quipped one attendee later, “my employees already live in Fantasyland.” The discussion about consistency of service was particularly interesting, however, and challenged guests to review how consistent they were in efforts toward customers, employees and vendors.

Dr. Joseph L. Smith, the director of security engineering for Applied Research Associates Inc., made a detailed presentation about what happens to glass performance in different types of blast testing. Smith’s video, showing the effects of different types and strengths of blasts, was eye-
popping.

The afternoon activity, titled “Behind the Scenes at Walt Disney World Resort” drew a good crowd. It included visits to Disney’s nursery, trash facilities, production center, textile service facility and more. It also highlighted how seriously the company takes the perception-is-reality theme. A whole system of underground networks connect the theme park and cast members are only allowed to appear above ground in an area appropriate to their character. This is why you’ll never see Goofy over in Tomorrowland, or Minnie eating a hot dog in Norway at Epcot.

wpe16.jpg (12926 bytes)

 The joint manufacturing meeting (shown above),
featuring the “kings” of the glass manufacturing industry,
was the highlight of Glass Week.

Treasure at Pleasure Island

The evening reception on Monday was held at the Rock n’ Roll Beach House on Disney’s “adult” entertainment complex called Pleasure Island. It featured a carnival-like atmosphere complete with video games and games of chance, tatoo artists and a spirited DJ. Some guests, like John Matthews of Carolina Mirror and Jim Charles of VVP America, danced the night away. Others, including Ken Werbowy of Tubelite, went home with a new addition to his biceps—a Canadian
flag.

There’s Always Tomorrow for Dreams to
Come True

Tuesday morning was back to business and the Disney theme began to fade into the distance as the GANA membership meeting was held. GANA president Doug Sampsel reported that SIGMA and the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Association of Canada (IGMAC) had begun working more closely together and were expected to refrain from joining Glass Week in 2001. “They feel that they will lose their focus by being part of Glass Week,” Sampsel said, “more of this pressure is coming from the Canadian group. I hope they change their mind. Our [GANA’s] respect in the industry is profound. We have grown tremendously during the past few years and we want to lure the insulators back to continue to work with us.”

GANA executive director Bill Birch then reported that the association was continuing to show significant growth in membership with 13 new member companies added in January alone. Birch also reported that the group’s Building Envelope Contractor division has been extremely popular and doing well. He also reported that GANA and the National Glass Association has begun some joint marketing efforts in an effort to avoid duplicating work and save money for both organizations, a first for both groups.

GANA’s Greg Carney gave a report on some of the committee work including the important work being done on roller waive. “This is a pretty serious distortion issue,” reported committee chair Ren Bartoe of Vesuvius McDanel, “and we are just beginning to identify and quantify it.”

The GANA report was followed by a presentation by Richard D. Voreis, executive vice president of U.S. Aluminum, who provided insight into the glass industry growth by segment. “If we see any change at all,” said Voreis, “it would be a downturn of about 2 percent, that’s all. The downturn in construction would be 1 to 1 percent.”

“The remodeling market is at least as big as new construction is,” said Voreis. “Eighty percent of the buildings in this country are more than 15 years old and in need of renovation. He cited office buildings, educational facilities and retail establishments as the three holding the greatest potential. He also felt that the interior market has tremendous potential. “This is a market worth $1.3 million a year. Now granted, most of that is now hollow metal, but we are working to change that in the future.”

Voreis was followed by perennial favorite Dr. Robert Fry, an economist with Dupont. Fry provided a detached look (except for his complete and utter devotion to Federal Reserve chairperson Alan Greenspan) at the U.S. economy in a variety of sectors. “We are nine years into the largest economic expansion in our history,” said Fry happily. Among his points:

• Growth in flat glass did not keep pace with growth in the overall economy in 1999;

• Record low unemployment rates are not bringing with them the usual pressures for increased wages;

• U.S. growth is expected to grow. The economy will continue to grow, just not at the rate it has been in the past eight years;

• Consumer spending has slowed. People are beginning to save more;

• An economic slow down will be mild and gradual—unless the stock market crashes.

 

A Whole New World

Gary Faykosh of First Solar LLC in Perrysburg, OH, followed Fry to the podium. First Solar is the company founded by noted industry inventor Harold McMaster to develop new types of glass as alternative sources of renewable energy. “What is today a small market is expected to reach $800 million in sales by 2005,” Faykosh told the audience. This new energy producing glass (EPG) is actually coated with a thin film that enables finished modules of the glass to produce between 17 and 100 volts of energy. “This type of material opens up a whole new market of utility suppliers as customers to us.”

Faykosh says EPG can be laminated and tempered. “Our biggest challenge is getting it into use so the cost of production comes down to something reasonable. Right now it’s very expensive to produce,” he added as the session came to a close.

For tennis players, the afternoon was filled with a tournament. There were numerous other attractions to keep the non-players busy until the joint dinner and special awards that evening.

 

When You Wish Upon a Star

Tuesday’s dinner concluded with special awards for two of GANA’s greats. President Doug Sampsel received an award in recognition of his years of service to the industry. “I am deeply moved and very touched,” he said, “this is such a great industry and I am proud to be part of it.” Leo Karas of Karas and Karas then announced the inauguration of a new award–the Harry Miles award, named after long-time GANA consultant Harry Miles, who retired last year. This was a double “hit” for Miles, who had been inducted into the Glass and Metal Hall of Fame™ just four months ago (see “Wild about Harry,” USGlass, November, 1999, page 76). Miles ending his thank yous with a flash of his signature red nose to the delight of the crowd.

 

Just Can’t Wait to be King

The highlight of Glass Week was, of course, the Joint Open Meeting, featuring the “kings” of each of the respective glass manufacturers in an open talk show format discussion. Featured


USG

Copyright 2000 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.